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August 1929


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1929;20(2):151-157. doi:10.1001/archderm.1929.01440020003001

When Richet, whose talents were subsidized by the winnings of a Mediterranean gambler instead of by the sanctified swag of a field marshal of industry, discovered the nature of anaphylaxis, he started medical imagination on another flight into the hectic realms of hit or miss. The phenomenon he discovered was definite. It meant something, and still does. But the lily has been gilded by countless clumsy brushes, and the ultimate daub is allergy, God save the mark, as interpreted and applied today. The metaphores in this paragraph have been mixed intentionally in order to symbolize how confused a simple thing can become when the human mind strikes its stride. For a moment I shall travel backward the path of medical history, and note the sign posts: first, a philosophy based on the humors which colored etiologic concepts until the middle ages; then, the great intellectual jolt by Harvey, a reveillé

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